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Autism is a hot-button topic around youth today—and rightfully so. The Center for Disease Control estimates that autism is 300 percent more prevalent than it was 12 years ago (having risen from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 50). That’s why the work of Autism Speaks is more important than ever! The world’s “leading autism science and advocacy organization,” Autism Speaks has three main missions: 1) helping to fund autism research, 2) increasing awareness, and 3) advocating for people with autism and their families.
So what is autism, exactly? Autism Speaks categorizes it as a “complex disorder of brain development” that can present challenges in socializing, communication (both verbal and non-verbal) and a tendency toward repetitive behaviors. It can also involve intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and sleep issues. However, some of the side effects are also pretty remarkable—according to Autism Speaks, those on the autism spectrum often excel in visual skills, music, math and art! (It’s believed that geniuses like Mozart and Andy Warhol were not only artistic, but autistic.)
It’s easy to see why Autism Speaks is one of the top 10 charities in the world. Due in great part to their efforts, another three states enacted autism insurance reform in 2012, bringing the total number up to 32 states. More than 600 cities in 45 countries across six continents took part joined its “Light It Up Blue” awareness campaign, and last September, Autism Speaks’ Fifth Annual World Focus on Autism brought together dignitaries from around the world to help raise global consciousness. And, perhaps most importantly, the organization raised almost $60 million collectively in 2012 to support autism efforts.
So how can you support the efforts of Autism Speaks? Let us count the ways:
Walk the walk. Find out when an Autism Speaks walk is happening in your area and get a team together to participate! Get the scoop here.
Go shopping! Check out the Autism Speaks store for shirts, wristbands, notebooks, bags and other goodies for good.
Honor someone you know with autism. If you want to pay tribute to a loved one with autism, it’s easy to set up a special fundraising page on Autism Speaks in his or her name.
Go the extra mile. The Charity Miles app allows you to donate to Autism Speaks simply through biking, walking or running.
See the work of Autism Speaks in action: